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Making a request under the Freedom of Information Act

If you wish to access information held by this Office using the Freedom of Information Act, you should:

  1. Make your request in writing or by email.
  2. Explain clearly that the information is being sought under the Freedom of Information Act.
  3. Be as clear and specific as possible about the information you require to enable the Office to identify correctly the relevant records.
  4. If you would like to receive access to the information/records requested in a particular format, (e.g. photocopies, electronically etc), please mention this when submitting your request.
  5. Include a daytime telephone number or email address and your postal address in your application. This will help us to contact you if we need to clarify any matter in relation to your request. 
  6. Requests should be posted or emailed to the FOI Officer:

The Freedom of Information Officer
The Office of An Coimisinéir Teanga
An Spidéal
Galway
Email: FOI@coimisineir.ie
Telephone: 091-504006

If you are having difficulty in identifying the precise records that you require, Nóirín Sheoige, the FOI Officer, or any member of staff of the Office will be happy to help you.

The Office will acknowledge receipt of your request in writing within 10 working days.  The acknowledgement letter will also provide you with the name and contact details of the person who will be making the decision in relation to your request and will advise you as to when you can expect to receive this decision.

Are Fees Payable?

Fees may be charged for search, retrieval and copying of the records requested. This process involves two stages:

  1. Locating the broad set of records in which those requested might be found.
  2. Identifying, extracting and assembling the particular records sought for examination.

The fee payable is based on the estimated cost of searching for and retrieving records and copying the records; the fee can only be charged with respect to records being released.  €20 is charged for each hour spent searching for and retrieving records and €0.04 is charged per sheet for a photocopy of the records released.

Fees payable based on the estimated cost of search & retrieval (€20 per hour):

Hours

Estimate Fee Payable
Less than 5 €100 or less No fees payable.
Between 5 and 25 €101 – €500 Fees payable.
Between 25 and 35 €501 – €700

No more than €500 can be charged.

More than 35 More than €700

The decision maker will contact the requester to ask him/her to refine/amend the request to ensure that the search & retrieval & coping charges are kept below €700. If the requester refuses to refine/amend the request then the request can be refused under Section 27(12)(iii)

In cases where search and retrieval fees apply, we are obliged to charge a deposit of at least 20% of the estimated fee to the requester.

What can I do if I am unhappy with the Office’s decision?

In addition to the records held by this Office exempt from the scope of the Freedom of Information Act, the Act itself has a series of provisions which exempt certain records in particular circumstances. These are designed to protect sensitive information where its disclosure may damage key interests of the State or of third parties.  Where this Office invokes any of these provisions to withhold records, the requester will be advised.  A decision to refuse or defer access to a record or a decision regarding fees or the format of the records to which access is provided etc., may be appealed.  

1. Internal Review

You may seek an internal review of the Office’s initial decision in relation to your request if:

  1. You are dissatisfied with the initial response received.
  2. You have not received a reply within 4 weeks of your initial application. This is deemed to be a refusal of your request and allows you to proceed to request an internal review.

The internal review will be carried out by an official at a higher grade than the original decision maker and who was not involved in the original decision making process. The Office must complete its internal review of the original decision within 15 working days of receipt of the request for an internal review.

To submit a request for an internal review, you should to write to the Director, Colm Ó Coisdealbha, by email to FOI@coimisineir.ie or by post to the Director, The Office of An Coimisinéir Teanga, An Spidéal, Co. Galway. You must make your appeal within 20 working days of the date that the decision letter was issued to you (the making of a late appeal may be permitted in appropriate circumstances). An application fee of €30 (€10 if you are covered by a medical card) is required before the processing of an internal review can begin. This fee can be paid by electronic funds transfer (EFT) and our bank account details will be listed in all decision letters.

An internal review may affirm, vary or annul the original decision in relation to a request.  The internal review process must be completed before an appeal can be submitted to the Information Commissioner.

2. Review by the Information Commissioner

If you are still dissatisfied following completion of the internal review, you may also seek an independent review of the Office’s decision from the Information Commissioner. Furthermore, if you have not received a reply from this Office to your application for internal review within 3 weeks, this is deemed to be a refusal and you may appeal the matter to the Commissioner. Appeals should be made directly to the Information Commissioner (details provided below). The fee for appeals to the Information Commissioner is €50 (€15 for medical card holders and their dependants).

Office of the Information Commissioner
18 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2
Lo-Call: 1890 223 030
Email: info@oic.ie
Tel: 01 639 5689
Fax: 01 639 5674

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